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An interview with… David Lindo: The Urban Birder

In an exclusive interview for Discover Animals, author, presenter, and photographer David Lindo discusses his influences, what people can do to engage with birds in urban environments, and how birding can be enjoyed by everyone.

  1. What’s your earliest memory of bird watching and how did this influence you?

I’ve always been interested in natural history. One of my earliest memories is of setting up a mini zoo on my back doorstep in Wembley, with as many creepy crawlies as I could find.  I was also attracted by what I mistook for ‘puppets’ at the time, but which turned out to be birds, and this fascination has remained with me ever since.

  1. What’s been your most unusual or memorable bird encounter and why?

There have been lots of amazing encounters, but one of my most memorable has to be on my local patch, which is Wormwood Scrubs in west London. It was a cold, rainy December morning when I spotted a reddish bird which I confused for a robin at first. On closer inspection, the bird turned out to be a restart, which was highly unusual as it’s a summer visitor. This actually became the second only national sighting at this time of year ever!

  1. Do you have a favourite place or time of the year to go birding?

My favourite place to go birding is Wormwood Scrubs. I love to do this in Autumn as it’s a time of change; the summer visitors are leaving, and the winter birds are just arriving, so there’s a huge variety of birds to see…

David Lindo (Susana Sanroman photography)

  1. How can we make our urban spaces more attractive to birds?

If you have a garden, keep a patch wild, including the weeds. The invertebrates and insects, (snails, ants, etc) will think of this as a jungle, which will be a haven for the birds as a food source. You could also add a bird table and some nest boxes, or if you don’t have a garden, a window feeder is a great idea. You could also encourage your local park to create a wild space for visitors to enjoy too.

  1. What three things do you always take with you on a birdwatch?

My binoculars, a camera, and a bird spotting book, which I always carry with me to check sightings and show others in my group.

  1. What tips can you give to anyone wanting to take up birding?

Get yourself to a local park or green space and observe what’s around you. Remember to bring your binoculars and an ID book with you – and don’t forget to look up! Or if you can’t get out, set up a feeding station or mini nature reserve and see what you attract.

  1. If you could choose just one bird, which would be your favourite and why?

The Ring Ouzel – a black bird with a white crescent on its chest, which is a member of the thrush family found mainly in the upland areas of Scotland and Northern England during the summer months. I’ve been fascinated by this bird ever since I first saw it in a book as a child. I didn’t think I’d get to see one as there are only about 6,000 in the UK, compared to 8 million blackbirds. I waited many years to spot one, thinking it would be in the Cairngorms or somewhere else in the far north, but my favourite bird actually came to visit me on my local patch! I think it was meant to be…

David Lindo is the author of The Extraordinary World of Birds, illustrated by Claire McElfatrick

The Extraordinary World of Birds shows children just how amazing birds are, what they do for our planet, and how we can help to protect birds and their natural habitats. It includes information on gamebirds, flightless birds, and perching birds, as well as fascinating facts about how birds talk to each other, what they eat, and how they fly.

Birds such as parrots, hummingbirds, eagles, and others swoop across the pages of this vibrant book, which mixes gorgeous graphics and images to help young nature and conservation enthusiasts discover everything there is to know about the wonderful world of birds.

The Extraordinary World of Birds is published by DK Books, priced £14.99

Main image:  David Lindo © Lestyn George

The Extraordinary World of Birds by David Lindo

Journey through the skies with this beautifully illustrated bird book for children! Parrots, hummingbirds, eagles and more, swoop across the pages of this colourful bird book, featuring illustrations and photographs to immerse young nature enthusiasts in the extraordinary world of
birds. Discover the surprising homes, relationships, and habitats of our feathered friends, and learn about how we can protect the wonderful bird world.

£13.19

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Compact Family Binoculars

Aurosports 12×25 High Powered Compact Binoculars for Adults Kids with Low Light Vision,Lightweight Small Binocular, Christmas Gifts for Children, for Bird Watching Hiking Travelling Stargazing Hunting

£23.64

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